Essex County Board of Supervisors proposes a budget to meet the tax cap

The Essex County Board of Supervisors.

The Essex County Board of Supervisors. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

As the tax-cap levy was slowly chipped away, the issue of blacktop raised the concerns of many.

Essex Supervisor Sharon Boison’s proposal of removing $341,000 from the blacktop fund on a bond that would be repayed upon the sale of Horace Nye Nursing Home was accepted by the board.

So far, a contract hasn’t been signed on the sale, but Scozzafava said he anticipates that to happen as early as next week.

Despite all the cuts, the County Board is anticipating a little help. Not previously included as revenue in the new budget was $2.8 million owed to the county by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for repairs made in the aftermath of tropical storm Irene and the 2011 spring floods.

Randy Douglas, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, said he is confident that money will come in, and that it should be applied to the budget.

Douglas would also like to see an across-the-county wage freeze, which would save the county $100,000, although several board members think the union representing county employees — the Civil Service Employees Union — would never agree to the proposal.

Currently, the proposed cuts total about $4 million, and will create a new tax rate of $2.51 per $1,000 of assessed value, an increase from the current rate of $2.42.

The total proposed tax levy under the spending plan would be $16.7 million, up from $16.27 million this year. The total budget stands at $108 million.

The board will vote on the cuts during its regular meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 4, and the budget will be made official when the board votes at a meeting at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 10.

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